April 18: to Phortze Tenga

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On April 18 at Luza, we awoke to still more fresh snow, and it was still coming down. Rats. There had been no one up the trail from Dole yet, so after breakfast we headed out once more into the fresh, deep snow and started tramping down a path down the hill. The visibility was still not good, but the terrain wasn’t quite as steep as the day before. We spent a few hours working our way down to Dole, where — joy of joys — we found that the trail had been packed by a group coming up and we didn’t need to continue to break trail. However, our joy was short lived, for we found that the packed trail was now very slick, which made the walking treacherous. We inched our way down steep slopes through forested country — the first trees we had seen in nearly three weeks. The rhododendrons were in bloom but covered with snow, their red blooms providing a bright accent to the black and white scene.

We reached Phortze Tenga in the afternoon, and had a late lunch. We debated about our next move. We were still about a 4-hour walk to the next reasonable place to spend the night, so we opted to call it quits early and stay at a lodge here. The accommodations were a single dark bunkhouse, but we were grateful that we didn’t need to set up the soggy tents. We had tea and dried out our soggy clothes around the stove in the dining area, and hoped for better weather for the next day.

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